ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A man poured thousands of dollars into one of his vehicles only to have it stolen. Yet, you might be surprised by what thieves left behind and how the owner was able to track it down.
Ryan Scott has been pouring hours of his time and thousands of dollars into one of his passions for several years – off-roading.
“It was an ’85 Toyota pickup. It had a lot done to it. Aside from the price of the truck, I had about $8,000 in it and I had been building it for about two years,” explains Scott.
Yet, all that changed in Nob Hill on the night of June 26.
“I guess they just popped my lock and pulled a U-turn and turned right onto Central,” Scott said. “I was very angry.”
Scott immediately called police and filed a report. In the hopes someone would see his truck, he reached out to the off-roading community online.
“I started posting it on some off-road websites for here in New Mexico and then on Craigslist, asking people to keep an eye out because we have a pretty close-knit group of off-roaders out here,” Scott explains.
It wasn’t long before Scott learned he wasn’t alone. He said five other people posted their stolen off-road trucks online. Knowing this group was a target for thieves, he thought he might never see his truck again.
Yet, Scott was hopeful and two months later, his persistence paid off.
“I got a call from a bunch of friends telling me to check my thread on New Mexico Off Road,” Scott said.
The next day, he and his family headed out to the West Mesa to see if the gray truck was his.
“It was my truck and I was pretty sad when I saw it. It had a shotgun taken to the tailgate, it was all primer gray, really beat up, the roof was bashed in. I was really angry. I was relieved, but angry,” Scott said.
However, as many would say, most criminals aren’t that smart. Scott said the thieves had stripped his engine, but they left his $3,000 axel.
“I was pretty relieved about that because that’s all I wanted back, mainly,” Scott said.
He said had it not been for the off-roading community, he never would have found his rig.
“The guy that saw it, that thought he saw it out in the mesa, he had seen my posts on New Mexico Off Road,” Scott said. “I don’t think he would have taken the time to post my pictures on my thread if he had never seen that before.”
There was an upside to recovering his ragged ride. The thieves had upgraded Scott’s old Toyota with a new dash and new seats.
Scott says he plans on putting a security system on his next truck.